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#98 Saiga

Critically Endangered

These are a small antelope, primarily in Kazakhstan, but some in Russia and Turkmenistan. They have experienced a few die-offs, but most notably back in 2015 there was a massive one. It took 3 weeks for over 200,000 to die. The Saiga would begin acting weird, and in a few hours would be dead. They died from a bacteria that caused hemorrhagic septecemia. There was a 100% mortality rate in herds. I saw pictures when I was researching them, and dead dotted the landscape as far as the eye could see. They were struggling because of poaching before too, which unfortunately has not stopped. Normally they could live up to 12 years. They are not large, similar to some goats at about 2 ½ feet tall (at the shoulder). Their nose helps them deal with blowing sand in the summer and frigid temperatures in the winter. I was torn, they get extra fluffy and cuddly looking during the winter, but I love the creamy brown colour of their summer coat.

I swear, I am seriously drawn to the goofy looking animals. Yeah, I like "normal" animals, but the ones with weird faces just tug at my heartstrings so much more. These have smushy faces that i just want to give some kisses to. I was going to paint a female, but the horns on the males have a pretty pink tone. I don't get to have much pink in the animals I paint. I actually toned it down a little from what they really look, because it would look almost fake to people most likely.

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